Solo Learning Before Doing

Eamon brushes up on his pottery knowledge

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role play forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

Moderator: Gossamer

Learning Before Doing

Postby Eamon on August 4th, 2017, 11:11 am

.
.
Image
3rd of Summer 517 AV

Perhaps it hadn’t been the best idea to agree to supply a commodity to a small community without actually having the skills or knowledge to provide it. Eamon had prepared for the eventuality that his first choice of being a healer might not have worked out. After all, Syka was just starting out but given that any settlement needed a doctor, it wasn’t surprising that there was already one here, nor was it surprising that he’d already taken an apprentice. That was totally fine with Eamon. He was more than willing to go with the flow and change his plans. In fact, he’d been expecting something of this sort of outcome and had shifted his plans accordingly. After all, he’d learned a bit about Syka before his eventual arrival. First, it was a new community, and everyone had to bring a skill that would benefit everyone in the simple act of survival. Second, it was by a rain forest, which was apparently some fairly unique environment. Finally, the settlers reserved the right to kick anyone out who wasn’t contributing or was draining more resources than they brought in.

All that meant that Eamon better get up to speed on his pottery, and fast. Luckily, he’d had the foresight to pack a book that would teach him at least the very basics of the art, as he’d had a prediction, almost a premonition, really, before his departure from Riverfall that any other skill he might contribute had been filled. Besides, though he’d only shaped clay for a brief period long ago, close to his fall from Leth’s embrace, he had enjoyed it in the brief period while it lasted. Even though other matters and talents had taken his attention since then, he was more than happy to pick up where he left off.

Of course, knowing that Syka was still a new settlement, and based on the news that came back about it, Eamon had known that it wouldn’t have a kiln that most potters used in their work. That had indeed turned out to be true. They apparently had clay, and Eamon had been given directions to it, but he hadn’t actually sought it out yet. There were a few prerequisites he wanted to brush up his knowledge of, especially given the rather primitive conditions he’d have to endure here in Syka. It was exhilarating, to Eamon at least, to have to adapt on the fly. In some ways, it felt like the culmination of what he’d be training for, and simply living here would take all his wits and his skills.

The jungle was an unforgiving mistress, as was the sea, and while the beaches where most of Syka was situated were pleasant enough – despite the near constant rainfall – Eamon knew that he couldn’t stay safe and sound on the sands forever. Eventually he’d be forced to venture out into the water or under the canopy of the trees. For now, though, he could enjoy the few comforts that Syka had to provide. One of those, as he’d discovered, was the Syka Commons. It was the main gathering place for the settlers, and at almost every hour of the day individuals could be found there chatting, working, or simply relaxing after a long day of work. As it was the beginning of the day, a few people were eating breakfast before heading off to work, those who weren’t still in their homes. It was his current destination, and he was strolling down the beach, sand shifting underfoot, at a leisurely but quick enough pace.

word count595 + 12860 = 13455
Image
.
.
User avatar
Eamon
Player
 
Posts: 32
Words: 52401
Joined roleplay: July 30th, 2017, 8:56 pm
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

Learning Before Doing

Postby Eamon on August 4th, 2017, 11:15 am

.
.
Image
3rd of Summer 517 AV

Eamon wasn’t hungry. He’d been up early, soaking in Leth’s rays, which, while clouds didn’t cover the moon, were more than enough to sustain him. Eamon didn’t know why that was the case, it simply was. It was definitely one of the perks of being an Ethaefal like him; he rarely if ever had to eat in his human form, although given all the rain he might need to supplement his typical diet, since he couldn’t rely on the moon ever being out. As he climbed the short distance up to the deck that housed the majority of Commons, Eamon smiled. Right now, it was beautiful, although clouds threatened on the horizon.

Normally, if he hadn’t been in Syka, he’d read in the comfort of his own home. Unfortunately, right now said home was a sloppily pitched tent and he didn’t trust it at all to be waterproof. He had to read, and he didn’t want to risk the precious book getting wet. That would be a disaster as not only had it been quite expensive when he’d purchased it back in Riverfall, it also was his only link to great knowledge when it came to pottery. Since he now had to make a living with pottery, this book could literally be the difference between his surviving here in Syka or getting kicked out and being forced to find a new home, this book was one of his most precious possessions. The probability of it raining in Syka, he’d come to learn, was quite high and so generally speaking it was better to assume it would rain than the opposite.

Eamon wasn’t under any illusions that the tome could work miracles. He doubted it had more than the very basics of the craft, but given that the basics were all that he really needed at this current moment in time, it seemed applicable that he returned to the beginning. Hopefully this book, which he gotten specifically because it seemed to reference making pots and other clay objects without using a kiln. Hopefully his investment would pay off in both the short and the long run. Still, there was absolutely no way for him to tell in advance whether his business endeavors would be at all successful.

Making his way to one of the empty chairs out under the sun, Eamon nodded to the few others gathered there but didn’t stop his purposeful stride. He wasn’t planning to introduce himself to anyone quite yet, as he wanted to feel like he had something to offer these folks first before he integrated himself. Settling into his chosen spot, he shifted until the sun was out of his eyes and simply illuminating the pages before him. Then he started flipping through the pages. He skipped the introduction, as it appeared to be the writer simply listing his accomplishments and establishing his credentials and none of that was actually all that useful to the Ethaefal. This potter was probably a fascinating person who had been many places and done many deeds, but all Eamon needed right now was knowledge of how to actually do the task.

word count522 + 13455 = 13977
Image
.
.
User avatar
Eamon
Player
 
Posts: 32
Words: 52401
Joined roleplay: July 30th, 2017, 8:56 pm
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

Learning Before Doing

Postby Eamon on August 4th, 2017, 11:16 am

.
.
Image
3rd of Summer 517 AV

So he started reading, as quickly as he could while making sure he actually absorbed the necessary information. The first page with useful facts started off easily enough. ‘Proper pottery is as much an art form as it is a science. Presumably you are perusing this volume because you don’t have access to a kiln. More’s the pity. There are three essential components in making any kind of creation using pottery: fire, clay, and the potter’s imagination. It also requires the skill of the potter, but for the purposes of this explanation, we’ll assume you nothing absolutely nothing about any of the above.’

Eamon frowned. All that seemed well and good and he had no problems with the actual knowledge that was presented. What was problematic was the author’s tone. Whoever it was had a pretty high opinion of himself or herself for someone who wrote a book about a skill they’d presumably spent their whole life mastering. When he thought of it that way, though, Eamon realized that it actually was fairly impressive. Still, if someone was that good at their craft, they had no need to be obnoxious about it. If Eamon ever became skilled enough in something to teach others about it, he imagined he’d be humble about it. Of course, it was too soon for him to really be making a judgment like that. Perhaps it was best that he never found out whether he would be arrogant or magnanimous as a teacher.

He was still annoyed, though, even if he was more ambivalent about the author now. It wasn’t any state to go studying in, as Eamon felt he wouldn’t be able to properly process the text if he was spending half the time annoyed at the writer’s tone. So instead, he decided to stretch for a bit. He wasn’t an expert in stretching, either, not by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it was a pleasant mindless activity that would feel good in the sun and wouldn’t cause him to lose his temper.

He’d watched some of the more physically inclined members of Syka stretch after either a particularly strenuous activity or after they had done some sort of training and he’d seen some of his pod do it in the past, made all the more treacherous by the shifting decks below them. While he wasn’t sure he’d gotten all of the positions down, he figured he could at least make a start. The easiest looking one that he remembered was the one where he would essentially bend in half and try to touch the floor.

He kept his knees straight as he lowered his hands, but unlike the people he’d been watching, he could not actually touch the ground. Instead, his hands only were able to reach halfway down his shins before he couldn’t go any farther. He stood there, straining for about a chime, trying his best to ignore the pain that was shooting down the back of his legs, but he couldn’t take it any longer and he straightened up, unable to stay in the position any longer. That hadn’t gone as he had hoped, but it had still provided a much-needed break from his pottery lesson.

word count538 + 13977 = 14515
Image
.
.
User avatar
Eamon
Player
 
Posts: 32
Words: 52401
Joined roleplay: July 30th, 2017, 8:56 pm
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

Learning Before Doing

Postby Eamon on August 4th, 2017, 11:18 am

.
.
Image
3rd of Summer 517 AV

In a slightly better mood, or, at least, less annoyed one, Eamon kept reading. ‘Locating the clay that you will use in your work is an important, but slightly complicated process. For the purposes of this explanation, we’ll assume you already have some material to work with. We’ll cover the appearance and location of clay in a later part of this text.” Eamon frowned, sitting back. He hadn’t thought about that particular aspect of the job. While he was pretty sure that some people in Syka knew where he could find this clay, he probably shouldn’t trust their judgment completely. Still, he would check out their information and verify it for himself. After that, if it turned out to be false, whether by accident or by design, he had the knowledge somewhere in this tome to find his own clay deposits.

Cheered by the finding that he was going to be able to not only make pottery, but also help explore more of Syka, Eamon kept perusing the volume. ‘Once you dig clay up, you’ll have to purify it. This can be a fairly complicated and involved process, so pay attention to the following passage carefully.’ That disclaimer didn’t exactly fill Eamon with a great deal of confidence, but it was good information to know, he supposed. Time to see exactly what this purification process entailed. ‘Whether you’re working with dry clay or wet clay will determine how you have to begin in order to make the cay into a useable substance for the job. With dry clay, place the lump into a bucket or container where it will be completely covered in water and set it somewhere where it won’t be contaminated by anything. Contaminants of any kind typically cause the pottery product to have strange imperfects after it has been fired that weaken the structural integrity of the item or can even cause dangerous effects during the firing. For this reason, the water you use should be clear. In addition, attempt not to create too much dust when transferring dry clay to the water.’ The book didn’t specify why dust was a problem, but Eamon figured there was a good reason for it.

Eamon noticed some movement out of the corner of his eye, and he glanced up from his book, curious as to why people seemed so agitated. Quite a few of them were leaving the Commons or relocating to the covered portion of it, so Eamon glanced around the sky. Sure enough, clouds were gathering overhead, with the alarming speed they seemed to have here in Syka. The sun was already covered and Eamon sprang to his feet. While we would be perfectly fine getting wet, as the rain here was warm even if it wasn't necessarily gentle, he didn't want to risk damage to his book. He broke into a jog for the short distance it took until he was under the safety of the covered portion. Seating here was much more sparse, especially considering there were already other people here, but that didn't bother the Ethaefal. He'd spent enough of his life aboard a ship that seating was a luxury, so if he had to stand up for a while, it was no trouble to him.

While he was upright, though, it seemed like as good a time as any to get his blood pumping a bit so he could focus better on his reading. Eamon set the book on the ground, out of the way of any potential water or anyone’s walking path. Then the Ethaefal began jumping up and down in place, as quietly as he could so as not to disturb everyone else there. He did that for about a chime, until his breath was coming more quickly and he could feel his heartbeat pick up speed.

That task done, Eamon allowed himself to just stand still for a moment, breathing in the air before the rain and furthermore contemplating his situation. Everyone had been warning him that Syka was incredibly dangerous, and he was starting to get nervous about his ability to survive in such a hostile climate with absolutely no ability to defend him. While he didn't like violence as a rule, he figured he should pick up a few tricks before he found himself in a situation he regretted. Better to have and not need that was a good motto. Unfortunately he didn't actually know how to fight, so maybe he should get an instructor. For now, though he'd fool around and see how it felt. He threw a rather ineffectual punch with his right hand and even Eamon, inexperienced as he was, could tell that it was pathetic. Frowning, he tried to throw one with his left fist but again, it felt terrible.

word count796 + 14515 = 15311
Image
.
.
User avatar
Eamon
Player
 
Posts: 32
Words: 52401
Joined roleplay: July 30th, 2017, 8:56 pm
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

Learning Before Doing

Postby Eamon on August 4th, 2017, 11:20 am

.
.
Image
3rd of Summer 517 AV

That didn’t feel right either, and he was sure that people were snickering at his antics. Apparently punching people wasn’t going to be successful in his immediate future. He moved on to his legs, figuring that even if he couldn’t use his arms properly, maybe, just maybe, his legs wouldn’t fail him in the same way. He kicked to the front with his right leg but almost overbalanced, having to windmill his arms wildly just to stay upright. Apparently being bad at unarmed combat was something that translated through his entire body. Much more cautiously, he kicked with his left foot, but that approach was also unsuccessful, as there was absolutely no force behind the blow, so even if it had connected, it wouldn’t have connected.

Eamon was slightly discouraged, but not debilitating so. The point of this exercise had never been to actually get good at fighting in one sitting. Instead, he’d been trying to distract himself from the slightly dense reading he’d been doing, and he’d certainly succeeded on that front. Also, the Ethaefal now knew that if actually wanted to progress in his combat skills, he should probably get a teacher to help him out. Clearly, attempting to do it on his own wasn’t going to get him very far that fast. Even in a community as small as Syka, there were probably quite a few people who would like to have a sparring partner, even one as pathetic as Eamon.

Cheered by that thought, and with a renewed attention for his studies, Eamon picked up his book from where he’d left it. Turning back to the page where he’d left off, he continued to read through the still slightly exasperating primer. Hopefully all guidebooks weren’t quite this frustrating. ‘If you’re digging up wet clay, as most people do, the first task you have to let it dry completely, then complete the steps described above. In either case, don’t stir the resulting mixture, as that weakens the consistency of the clay and the final product. After it has dissolved into the water – a process described as slaking – then you can move on.’ All that seemed fairly intuitive to Eamon, so he moved on to the next page.

‘Once it has slaked fully, then you should integrate it more fully into the water by mixing it with a clean object, one that won’t leave anything behind. If necessary, you should add more water. In the end, the clay should reach an almost liquid state. After doing this a few times, you’ll be able to easily tell when it’s ready by touch or perhaps even by sight. This state is necessary to reach in order to filter out some of the impurities that are no doubt found in any unfiltered clay.’ This was a much more involved process than Eamon imagined. It seemed like quite a bit of work to go through just to get some clay that he could actually use to make pottery objects. Still, he’d made his bed and now he probably would have to sleep in it.

word count512 +15311 = 15813
Image
.
.
User avatar
Eamon
Player
 
Posts: 32
Words: 52401
Joined roleplay: July 30th, 2017, 8:56 pm
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

Learning Before Doing

Postby Eamon on August 4th, 2017, 11:23 am

.
.
Image
3rd of Summer 517 AV

Moving on, Eamon started to learn how to filter out the impurities. The rain had started by then, and he paused briefly to listen to it drumming steadily on the roof above. It was beautiful, in its own way, and Eamon let his gaze drift seawards where the droplets from above met the waters below, causing ripples to spread out from their impacts. Eamon felt his heart swell with emotion. It was an incredible meeting of sea and sky, and he felt privileged to be a witness to it.

Bowing his head slightly, he decided to pray for a brief period. “Laviku, god of the waves and all who dwell above and below them, may your empire be untroubled by storms and strife. May the seas always embrace you and may you find comfort in the salt waters that you so graciously allow us to use.” His time with the Svefra had left him an appreciation for the sea God. Laviku could be fickle in his moods, as any sailor knew, and so it was always a good idea to appease the God before casting off for a voyage. Even that didn’t necessarily guarantee safe passage, but it was much better than angering Laviku, which would definitely result in injury and maybe even death for any sailor foolish enough to try it.

With that cheerful thought fresh in his mind, Eamon went back to pottery. While he loved Laviku, although Leth was still his chosen deity, that didn’t make the sea god any kinder or more inclined to notice or care about Eamon. At least pottery was something he could in theory control, once he learned how to do it properly. The sea was a natural force, far beyond the ability of any mere person to influence. Filtering clay though, that was something Eamon could do.

‘Once it has turned into a liquid, pour it onto some sort of straining material. Either a cloth that is porous enough to allow it through or a screen with small holes that won’t let anything but the smallest pebbles through should suffice, anything that will not allow larger chunks of material through. Pour the liquid onto it, and shake it careful, letting the liquid clay to pool into a clean container underneath. If you let it fall onto an unclean surface, than all that work purifying it has been for naught.’ That seemed fairly self-evident to Eamon, but apparently the author didn’t trust anyone reading his words to perform even the simplest of tasks without messing up in some way shape or form. Still, it was a good tip, and while the Ethaefal probably wouldn’t have done something as stupid as let the clay just fall to the ground, with this reminder he definitely would avoid that.

‘Once it had been filtered, let it sit for a while until it has turned into mush at the bottom of wherever it is resting. You'll be able to tell because there will be a surface of water on top of it. That water needs to go; drain it or siphon it off somehow, taking care not to let any of the clay at the bottom escape. After all that, you are finally ready to mold the clay into the shape you want it to be in. I shall not go into detail here about the intricacies of that process. Presumably you can figure out on your own how to shape such a malleable material.” Apparently such trivialities were beneath the author’s dignity to explain. Eamon knew that both instruments and bare hands could be used to mold clay, of course, but even just that little tidbit would’ve be a nice gesture for any reader. Clearly this author had written the book so that everyone would know how amazing he was, and it was really turning the Ethaefal off of the subject. Still, he didn’t have much choice in the matter, given his circumstances and the lack of alternative sources of information. Still, the rest of the book had been incredibly helpful, he was forced to admit, so perhaps this author had it right all along. That still didn’t mean that Eamon liked it. At least he was almost done with the first section.

word count708 + 15823 = 16531
Image
.
.
User avatar
Eamon
Player
 
Posts: 32
Words: 52401
Joined roleplay: July 30th, 2017, 8:56 pm
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

Learning Before Doing

Postby Eamon on August 5th, 2017, 3:58 am

.
.
Image
3rd of Summer 517 AV

Eamon felt that he had to be close to the end, of the basic knowledge at least. After all, he’d learned how to purify clay and in theory the book had touched on how to shape clay, so two of the three necessities for pottery had been covered. All that was left was that Eamon would have to learn how to build a fire that would be capable of actually making clay hardened properly. Still, that was a pretty significant part of the process and he supposed that he couldn’t call it a day just yet.

‘The firing of clay is, in some ways, the most delicate part of the process, although some might argue that this distinction should be given to the molding of the clay objects. I am not going to get into that here. Suffice it to say that it a significantly difficult endeavor that it requires a section on its own. You can’t simply put clay in a fire and expect it to turn hard. There are procedures to follow. Below I will list some of the ones that I have deemed completely necessary.” That was so kind of the author, Eamon though drolly. Really, the Ethaefal couldn’t figure out why this person had written a book when they had such disdain for their fellow potters. Perhaps it had been simply to prove they could, and they hadn’t expected anyone to read it. More likely, the author hadn’t realized quite how pretentious they would come across. Still, Eamon had to keep reading.

‘First, let us go through some basic fire safety techniques. Because this fire will burn quite hot, and there is the potential for spreading, clearly some precautions much be taken. The first is simple: do not, I repeat, do not, put anything into a fire that you cannot identify.’ Again, that seemed fairly unnecessary to Eamon, but he supposed that people chucking objects into a fire without a care had probably caused some disasters in the past. ‘You will also want to build a ring of stones on the outside of your fire, to prevent it from escaping easily and also to mark the boundaries that individuals should stay out of.’ That at least, was useful information, and Eamon felt a grudging recognition for the author’s skill. ‘On the same note, only light fires on surfaces and in areas that have been cleared of debris. You never know when a stray spark will jump and start a raging inferno. While fires may be natural and may help the environment in some cases, it’s best to leave that job to nature. Sand or dirt works well as base. Watch for anything that might fall or dip into your blaze as well.’ Again, this was practical advice with only a hint of scorn. ‘Finally, while this might seem self-explanatory, there are some imbeciles out there. So, do not touch the fire or the pots until you’re absolutely sure the objects are cool to the touch.’ There was the condescension that Eamon had grown to expect.

Still, all this information had been on fires in general, and not on fires for pottery specifically. Eamon frowned, but kept going. ‘Now, for pottery, there are even more considerations. First, clay is fragile even when it’s been fired. Make sure the fire will not collapse or the pots will not fall out, or all your hard work may be for naught.’ That was actually a good suggestion and Eamon made a mental note. ‘In addition, the intensity of the fire is incredibly important to monitor. You don’t want to apply too little or too much heat. Too much heat causes the clay to crack and becomes brittle. Too little heat and the clay won’t harden the way you want it to. This is why kilns are preferred, because regulating the heat becomes much easier than when you are using simply an open fire. Still, it is possible and if you are careful, which most aren’t, you shouldn’t have any troubles.” At this point, Eamon was just ignoring the author’s commentary and simply skim until there was actually useful information to be found at this point. Otherwise, he’d drive himself crazy trying to determine the writer’s motivations.

‘At the bottom of the fire you should lay a pile of kindling. Don’t be afraid to put a lot in there. Kindling burns quickly and you’ll need a short but sustained hot fire to get your pots and other objects to the level you want them at. On top of the kindling, which will preferably be dry wood, you should lay your pottery objects. Again, placing them in such a way that they will not shatter when the kindling supporting them burns up and they fall is paramount.’ They’d already covered that particular tidbit so Eamon forged ahead. ‘On top of the clay, you need a layer of relatively fast, but not to fast, and very hot burning material. Either long grass or manure that you can lay atop of the clay without damaging it is ideal, especially if it is slightly wet, as that will create the exact burn you’re looking for. Manure may not be appealing but it is a useful material, and you can clean the pots off easily afterwards, as well as yourself.’ Since Eamon was surrounded by a rain forest and there weren’t many animals to gather droppings from, he thankfully felt he would be using grasses or other plant matter. ‘Leave a generous hole for air at the top of the out layer of firing materials, as well as several smaller holes on the bottom that have access to the kindling. This will allow the fire to continue burning long enough, as a fire with no air cannot last. This is the end of the beginning of this text, as I have given you every basic piece of information you should require in this endeavor. Later parts of the book cover some of the material here more in depth but this should have been a useful enough overview for you to begin your own project.’ With that, Eamon snapped the book close. The author was right; Eamon was ready and raring to get started, and now he felt he had the know how to get the job done.

word count1051 + 16531 = 17582
Image
.
.
User avatar
Eamon
Player
 
Posts: 32
Words: 52401
Joined roleplay: July 30th, 2017, 8:56 pm
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

Learning Before Doing

Postby Madeira Craven on September 18th, 2017, 5:06 pm

Image
Grades Awarded!

Don't forget to edit/delete your grade request!


Eamon

Skills
  • Pottery: 5XP
  • Observation: 4XP
  • Acrobatics: 1XP
  • Endurance: 1XP
  • Unarmed Combat: 2XP
  • Wilderness Survival: 1XP

Lores
  • Syka: you can't trust the weather
  • Pottery essentials: clay, fire, imagination
  • Pottery: purifying clay
  • Unarmed Combat: better not practise in public
  • Pottery: stiring clay weakens it
  • Pottery: slaking
  • Pottery: filtering
  • Pottery: firing clay
  • Wilderness Survival: building a fire

Awards & Retribution


Notes
Congrats on your first completed thread! It was an excellent read, very laid back. I quite liked your sassy, arrogant book too! And periodically putting the book down for some physical exercise is a great skill farming technique that I'm definitely going to use myself in the furture. Hopefully we shall see more of this awkward Eth in the future. :)

Constructive critisism time! As always, I do not write professionally and just generally have no idea what I'm doing, so do take what I say with salt.

I'd love to see you work on your opening paragraphs. Eamon has some great, complicated motivations, but I'm not sure putting it all immediately right at the start is the right way to intoduce them. You want to take this first impression to get the reader invested in this thread, so maybe try introducing the character/setting/problem right away. Where is he? What is he doing? Then, only after you've built the thread world and the character, dig deeper and give people those motivations. At that point you'll have earned enough interest from the reader to hit them with that exposition. That would be a good way to get people hooked with those first few words!

If you have any questions or concerns about your grade, let me know. :nod:
User avatar
Madeira Craven
Completely Sane
 
Posts: 411
Words: 317450
Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 3
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Donor (1)


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests